Steak au Poivre: Old School

The husband's dinner request last night was for MEAT & CARBS.
His words "I am starting to sprout leaves".
I guess I have been making too many vegetables lately. Poor guy.

Let's go "old school" and make steak au poivre. A recipe that will never go out of style in my book.

It's so simple, yet so fancy.

Get out your good china.

This is the easiest and best method to prepare steak au poivre.
The recipe is from Alton Brown, and I like it even better than Julia Child's! (shhhh).

Old School Steak au Poivre: (adapted from Alton Brown)

4 beef tenderloin steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each and no more than 1 1/2 inches thick
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup Cognac, plus 1 teaspoon
1 cup heavy cream

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour prior to cooking. Sprinkle all sides with salt.

I buy the whole beef tenderloin in the vacuum package when it is on sale.
I have either the butcher trim it for me, or trim it myself, as I did this time.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, the bottom of a cast iron skillet, or using a mallet and pie pan. Spread the peppercorns evenly onto a plate. Press the fillets, on both sides, into the pepper until it coats the surface. Set aside.

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil.

As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golden and smoke, gently place the steaks in the pan.

For medium-rare, cook for 4 minutes on each side. Once done, remove the steaks to a plate, tent with foil and set aside. Pour off the excess fat but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean.

Off of the heat, add 1/3 cup Cognac to the pan and carefully ignite the alcohol with a long match or fire stick. (WHAT ALTON NEGLECTS TO TELL YOU IS TO STAND FAR AWAY FROM THE PAN WHILE IGNITING, BECAUSE THE HIGH FLAMES WILL BURN YOUR EYELASHES RIGHT OFF!).

Gently shake pan until the flames die. Return the pan to medium heat and add the cream.

Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Add the teaspoon of Cognac and season, to taste, with salt.

Add the steaks back to the pan, spoon the sauce over, and serve.

It's a good thing I take requests.


Table Talk said…
A classic...yum! Great flames shot!
Debbie said…
I've never made that. The sauce looks delicious...thanks for the fire warning!!!
Ciao Chow Linda said…
Wow does that look fantastic - and better than Julia's recipe? That's saying something. You got quite a flame going there. How did you manage the photo at the same time?
Meseidy said…
Great balls of fire Stacey! I know cheezy right? You hubby sounds like mine, not a big fan of veggies. The dish looks delicious!
kat said…
A classic, yes but always so good!
I bet the husband was smiling from ear to ear, you're such a good wife, Nice flames!
Holy cow - hope you still have your eyebrows! I love, love steak au poivre, and was talking about my love for it the other night at an event, when I was told by multiple people that Raouls has the absolute best version in the city. Have you tried it? Personally I'm partial to le bilboquet, but my hubby refuses to go there because he hates sitting on top of other people.
Foodiewife said…
I love filet mignon. I've always wanted to make this, because it looks so simple yet elegant. I've never done flambe' for fear of setting off my smoke alarms. You've certainly made it look like something I'd love to make for my husband. Great photo of the flames!
Culinary Cory said…
Wow, your recipe looks like something that could be served in a fine restaurant. So tasty.
Karen said…
Yum! The sauce sounds so yummy.
noble pig said…
OMG I love this dinner. Love it! Lucky hubby!
lisaiscooking said…
Nice flame! I know someone who would love to have this for dinner.
well done - I mean rare...this I could eat twice a week and only get tired of it enough to want it once a week...
The JR said…
Those pictures are making my mouth water.

My husbands favorite thing to say when I ask him what he wants to eat is "Big chicken or small cow. Something that use to have feet. Fried with rice and gravy". LOL

StaceyEsq said…
How hard will you laugh at me when I set my kitchen on fire?
Melissa said…
"His words "I am starting to sprout leaves"."


Fantastic classic steak. I am far too frightened to do flames in my apartment. Nuh uh. I wish I could though because that sauce is awesome.
Giff said…
Henry might make a good tree though, with all those leaves. Cute milk shot of you two.

I like old school. This is yum. God bless cast iron! :D
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
To Melissa, if I'm not mistaken you can substitute white grape juice for the cognac and not run the risk of fire. The taste should be very close to the original version.